I’ve had free time lately, time to figure out my creative path. I’m learning a lot about internet marketing and things you’re “supposed” to do to get people to see your stuff. I read one article about food blogging saying that it wasn’t enough to have great images, it wasn’t enough to have great tasting recipes, or be genuine. I thought, “What is enough?”
Then I stopped. Wait! Robert Frost was wrong. See what I figured out is there are really three roads in the scenario. There is the road most people take.
Then there’s the “I’m going to follow my dream!” road, but you don’t. Instead, maybe you touch the fringes of your dream but you don’t follow your vision. You follow what other people advise you to do or you do what everyone else likes. Below is an example.
I saw this great documentary series on Netflix called, “Chef’s Table.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s a documentary about innovative, award-winning chefs. One such chef is Niki Nakayama.
I was very moved by this particular story because in many ways, Ms. Nakayama’s traditional Japanese upbringing mimicked mine. Her family followed the philosophy that the son had to succeed and the daughters could just play a supportive role with their husbands. My mother also paid special attention to my brother to succeed whereas at least for awhile, she focused on just trying to get me to marry someone, at 16!
Ms. Nakayama also talked about people telling her she wouldn’t succeed and fighting to prove herself. One of the reasons I even finished law school is because my mom said I couldn’t. At the time I was pretty mad at my mom, but I got over it quite awhile ago. If my mom had told me that I shouldn’t finish law school because it wasn’t me, I probably would have listened.
Fortunately, Ms. Nakayama studied something she was passionate about. She attended cooking school, then worked under a great Japanese chef in LA, then three years in Japan. Finally, she opened up her own restaurant, a sushi restaurant because her family told her it would be familiar. If it failed they would withdraw their support. After years of work, she realized her heart wasn’t in it so she sold the business. Then she opened n/naka, her vision.
Following your vision, the third road may not be a road at all. I think you start at the crossroads, where the first two roads converge. Then there’s a thought or a vision of a road. You work making the road. You work really hard, clearing a space, getting rid of the weeds. Inch by inch, you hack away, making it beautiful by refining your craft and achieving technical expertise. Then the road grows, as your vision comes to life.
I decided to take the third (nonexistent, at least right now) road. I started down the second road and realized the futility of it. I have so long to go but I’m at peace with my decision and no more time to dwell on it! I’m at best a mediocre photographer and have so much to learn. Plus if you’ve known me for a long time, this vision isn’t a simple one.
Tally ho! Love, Ana